Netherlands Dutch language tuition for expat children

Netherlands Dutch language tuition for expat children

Netherlands Dutch language tuition for expat children

One of the most difficult tasks for expat parents is deciding on the best schooling option for their kids.

For relocating expat professionals heading to the Netherlands and expecting to stay long-term, finding the right school for their children may be a challenge as there's a choice between Dutch and international school education. Parents often decide on Dutch schools as they want their kids to integrate, but the language problem looms large. Opting for an international English language education at an international school solves the language issue, but misses out on integration with local children and the Dutch lifestyle.

Interestingly, around 60 per cent of incoming expat parents choose from the wide selection of available Dutch schools, mostly because they feel integration is important for their children. Also, Dutch education is known for its quality and the schools are far more affordable as they are state-subsidised. Keeping the use of your native language in balance with your child’s increasing command of Dutch is important, as a full understanding of one’s native language helps children apply knowledge and understanding to a new language.

Preschool classes run for children aged two to four years, exposing expat children to the Dutch language between two and four times every week via special language programmes based on themes with different vocabularies. Dutch primary schools take expat children between four and six years old, immersing them in the language five days a week. At this stage, some children mix the two languages, but soon separate the two.

Newcomer Dutch immersion classes are given for new arrivals between six and 12 years old, with most youngsters staying for at least a year. For young people from the age of 12 up to 18, secondary Dutch language classes are provided, lasting one to two years, by which time fluency in the language is well established and expat youngsters have become fully integrated into Dutch life and culture. The system is tried and true and gives expatriate children the advantage of being totally bilingual, a skill which will serve them well in adult life.

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